Sandia researchers are currently studying how ultrawide bandgap semiconductor materials could be used to create more compact and efficient power electronics, potentially leading to higher absolute voltages for distributing power grid energy. These materials, such as AIGaN, are expected to allow devices to operate at higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures than wide bandgap materials, such as silicon carbide (SiC) and GaN. When made into transistors, the materials have the potential to vastly improve the performance and efficiency of not only electrical power grids, but also electric vehicles, computer power supplies, and motors for such things as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. To learn more, see the complete news release.

Photo: Sandia National Laboratories electrical engineer Bob Kaplar heads a project studying ultrawide bandgap semiconductor materials. The project is answering such questions as how materials behave and how to work with them, steps toward improving everything from consumer electronics to power grids. (Photo by Randy Montoya)